Danielle Virgin (Founder and Host, What Would She Do?)
What’s the story behind What Would She Do? What was your inspiration and why did you want to start a podcast?
In late 2017, the company I was working for was acquired and I found myself without a job. I was grateful to have the time and space to find the next right thing but to be honest, I was lost. I spent time thinking about where I started working years ago, what I thought I was going to do, where I was today, all the bosses and coworkers along the way and how it was sort of a miracle that I had the success I had or the even the opportunities I’d had. I was a college dropout, with little to no training who, with some really hard work, had survived at some of the most well-known companies and organizations. I was grateful that I had this amazing set of experiences but more so, that I had built up this incredible network throughout my journey.
I thought about the countless conversations I’d had with these amazing women throughout the years about things like, how to approach a difficult conversation with a boss, how to manage someone who isn’t taking feedback and how to recover from a massive failure. What struck me was when we encounter those moments and we find ourselves reaching out to someone for help. The moment usually starts with the question, “What would she do?”. In that moment I realized how lucky I am to have people that I can rely on and I trust. But it got me thinking, “What do women do who DON’T have this type of network?”
So, I decided to create this podcast. “What Would She Do?” was created to offer a support system for all women in the workplace that need to have those tough conversations. Women from all different backgrounds and in various stages of their careers share their stories on topics like, whether we as women can have it all, tools that helped them be a better leader, and even how to come back from maternity leave, and how to handle crying in the workplace.
My goal for “What Would She Do?” is to connect all women through humor, insight and maybe even some tears along the way. But most importantly, that women hear authentic and real advice about other women pushing through tough situations in the workplace and making decisions that we all may face in our careers.
What has been your experience with failure and success?
First of all, I love failure! Don’t get me wrong, failing SUCKS but I think we all learn from our failures. Failure teaches us the steps we should not take, which pushes us to succeed so we don’t fail again. I do fear failure, but I also know that failing in life from time to time is inevitable, especially if I am doing something new. So now I don’t fear failure as much as I used to because I also know that success is on the other side of failure. You can’t have one without the other. Queen Oprah says it best: “Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”
Advice you would give to your younger self:
Be yourself. If people don’t like it, it’s not that you aren’t the right fit for them, it’s that THEY aren’t the right fit for YOU. So, don’t try to be something that you aren’t…they aren’t worth that time and effort.
- You don’t grow when you are comfortable.
- Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it. Ann Landers.
- If something doesn’t challenge you it sure as hell won’t change you!
- If you doubt your power, you give power to your doubts. Diane von Furstenburg
- If you are a woman, never doubt that you belong at the table. Never doubt that you bring something to it. And never forget to save a seat for someone else. Maria Shriver
What advice do you have for young women who want to follow their passion but aren’t sure how to get there?
Surround yourself with people that you can share your ideas with, that support you and that may have a passion like yours. Be around people that offer you a different perspective and talk through your ideas with them. This will allow you to identify blind spots that then give you the confidence to start something big.
What advice do you have specifically for women that want to start a podcast?
Be authentic, be real, be yourself and be OK with making mistakes. (And EVERYONE always hates to hear their own voice…eventually you will learn to love the sound of yours)
Who are your role models?
- Gert Boyle, Chairwoman of Columbia Sportswear: She took over the business after her husband died in 1970. At that time she didn’t have business experience and still turned Columbia Sportswear into a billion dollar empire.
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of Special Olympics: She changed the world and was such a champion for a population a people that is so often neglected and overlooked. She never took “No” for answer, from anyone, ever. She was charm and fire at the same time.
What’s next for you?
My next adventure is setting up my podcast in a panel format, so people can answer questions from listeners. I’m excited to see how that works out and offer the opportunity to engage with both my speakers and listeners.